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The Armenian population of Nagorno Karabakh could face “total eradication” from their homeland, according to a joint report by Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust and the Argentinian Observatory for Human Rights.
The report follows a similar warning from Luis Moreno Ocampo, former International Criminal Court prosecutor, who said on 7 August: “Without immediate dramatic change, this group of Armenians will be destroyed in a few weeks… There is a reasonable basis to believe that a Genocide is being committed against Armenians living in Nagorno Karabakh in 2023.”
- The Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh have endured many years of political turmoil and economic neglect, with two major wars erupting in the early 1990s and 2020.
Azerbaijan and Turkey launched a 44-day war against the Armenian population of Nagorno Karabakh in 2020. Civilians endured military offensives by heavy artillery missiles, combat unmanned aerial vehicles, aerial bombs, cluster munitions and Smerch multiple rocket launchers – weapons incapable of precision targeting – in breach of international humanitarian law and Geneva conventions.
Local Armenians suffered widespread destruction of non-military objects, including medical emergency service centres and ambulances, schools and preschools, religious sites, food stocks, crops, livestock, electricity and gas plants, and drinking-water installations and supplies.
Armenian prisoners of war and civilian detainees remain vulnerable to killings, torture, indefinite imprisonment or enslavement, with reports of humiliating treatment and desecration of corpses by Azerbaijani soldiers, in actions captured on videos and widely circulated on social media.
Serious concerns remain over the fate of hundreds of Armenian monuments and cultural heritage sites, which are now under Azerbaijan’s control. The sites include 161 churches, the ancient city of Tigranakert, Azokh Paleolithic Cave and the Nor Karmiravan tombs.
Cases of anti-Armenian rhetoric, or ‘Armenophobia’, continue to rise among Azerbaijani state officials, state-dominated media outlets, non-state public figures and across social media.
Since 12 December 2022, Azerbaijan has blocked the only road [the Lachin corridor] between Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh. The blockade prevents 120,000 ethnic Armenian residents from accessing essential goods and services, including fuel, food and life-saving medication.
The International Court of Justice has ordered Azerbaijan to lift the blockade, which is widely condemned by human rights groups, United Nations experts and the International Committee of the Red Cross – yet Azerbaijan continues to resist.
It is with the heaviest of hearts that we must face the disturbing possibility that the Armenian Genocide never ended. There are those who want to complete it, and those who are unable – or unwilling – to stop it.